Eliminating gender inequality essential for development, says President

Eliminating gender inequalities is essential for the nation to benefit from women’s contribution to economic development and progress, President Mohamed Nasheed said in his weekly radio address on Friday.

Speaking on the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,’ Nasheed expressed gratitude and encouragement for the campaign against domestic violence launched by a gender advocacy working group under the slogan ‘Thinakun Ekeh’ (one in three).

The slogan refers to the findings of a Ministry of Gender and Family study in 2007, the first comprehensive nationwide survey of domestic violence in the Maldives, which revealed that one in every three women between the ages of 15-49 has been a victim of domestic violence.

“Although it is believed that the status of women in our society is better in comparison to other SAARC nations, active participation of women in important sectors in the country is comparatively low,” Nasheed observed. “For example, while 24 percent of women are unemployed in the Maldives, that figure is eight percent in Sri Lanka. Out of all SAARC countries, the Maldives is at the bottom in this respect.”

While women make up 28 percent of the Afghanistan parliament, Nasheed noted that women represented just seven percent, or five out of 77 MPs, in the Maldivian parliament.

“The most important facility for a country’s development is its people,” he said. “And since women are half of the population in any country, for a certainty their full participation will speed up the pace of development.”

The President noted that legislation on domestic violence was submitted to parliament in October 2010 and sent to committee in November, urging MPs to “pass the bill as soon as possible.”

Compassion and care from others is important to give women the courage to “surmount obstacles and escape the different forms of violence they face,” said Nasheed, recognising the activities of NGOs and women’s rights advocates.

Meanwhile, the Thinakun Ekeh gender advocacy group organised events on Friday in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to launch a 16-day campaign against domestic violence with programmes to disseminate information of its incidence and raise public awareness.

The gender advocacy group was formed on September 29, 2011 with UNFPA assistance to “work with strategic partners in civil society, media, parliamentarians and religious institutions to pave ways for women and men to work together to find lasting solutions to the society’s most serious social, economic and political problems.”

An information session took place at the artificial beach late Friday afternoon after a run round Male’. Participants included Prosecutor General Ahmed Muiz, philanthropist Mohamed Waheed Deen, former Foreign Minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed, former Gender Minister Aneesa Ahmed and members of civil society organisations.


13 thoughts on “Eliminating gender inequality essential for development, says President”

  1. I am glad the President notes the discriminatory figures. I hope he takes action about it and the budget the government is planning to present has udgetted for it

  2. Thank you sir for your occasional helpfulness.

    Of course you cannot note the gross abuses of women's rights and lack of progress on the issue under your government.

    However, making a statement on radio might have a good effect if policy direction changes with it.

  3. To let a woman out of her house is complete madness. They are frivolous creatures whose time is best spent on quiet devotion and the breeding of pious offspring.

    Men are to be the protectors of women - but how can we protect those who are inclined to tempt the lascivious amongst us, with the flesh of their arms; the shade of their hair; the expressions on their uncovered face?

    It is like letting a horse out of the stable - into a wilderness where they will fall prey to Coyotes.

    Feminism and womens rights are a load of crockery.

    As those to those who preach such nonesense; the Ayatu'llah Khomeini would have garroted them on the spot, may his name ever be praised.

  4. perhaps the women in this country are too busy getting flogged to actively participate in the workforce.

  5. @ Dhivehi Hangyourself
    You have some very ignorant and primitive ideas regarding women's rights. Which Pakistani madrassa where you educated in? Thank God we don't have dimwits like you in India.
    Gender inequality will never be eliminated in the Maldives because of your stupid religious laws.......and people like the aforementioned dimwit

  6. @Dhivehi Hanguraama

    Don't worry too much about protecting us women. As it happens we can take better care of ourselves when you men don't intefere in our lives, we don't need your "protection" in the form of domestic violence and abuse of our children. You men should worry about how to protect yourselves from drugs, as most of the men in this country seem to be hooked onto some form of drugs and roaming around the country killing people and raping women. So you men might actually want to stay home and pray for forgiveness. And oh by the way, maybe you men should stop looking at us women and control your wild and dirty imaginations. Afterall, you men will also be questioned for your thoughts on the day of judgement! And whether you can digest it or not, we women have equal rights as you men and the sooner you wake up to reality (maybe from whatever you are high on)the better it will be for the whole mankind!

  7. @Mariyam

    You are quite accurate in your own self portrayal as a man hating feminist. In fact this is quite a typical mindset.

    You fill your heart with hate and apathy towards men just because some men are abusive (they are).

    But if you fill your heart with hatred, you are no different to the bad men.

    Remember that no women is an island too. You need men and have to lean to accept them too.

    Some women say they do not need ANY men. They only need batteries. Thats is not right either.

  8. @ Batteries

    Actually no, I don't hate men and I am not a man hating feminist...but when you realize that such dimwits like Dhivehi Hangurama actually exist, what I've said is a very natural reaction. But I do apologize if it sounded like I was generalising against all men...of course there are some great men around, who are confident about their masculinity, without having an urge to control women and treat them as slaves. And of course there are women who take advantage of men who are good to them too. Works both ways.

    The point here really is that the rights that we women have are not rights that are to be given to us by the kindness of men or vice versa. Male or female, we all have our rights individually and collectively and its really pathetic and sad when SOME men act like its up to them to decide what rights or what level of rights can be given to women. And the fact is that when 1 in 3 women are facing domestic violence, it really is a big joke when the men who are abusing and beating these women claim that men are actually there to protect women. Surely you can understand how under some circumstances a woman might actually prefer a battery over an abusive and violent man!

  9. @ Dhivehi Hanguraama

    Sorry dude, your sarcasm went over everyone's head, but your satire gave me a good laugh

  10. Oh and minivan your stats are not accurate. One in three women is not those who experienced domestic violence but one in three has experienced some form of violence (physical, mental, sexual) in their lives.

    @Mariyam: I second your statement "The point here really is that the rights that we women have are not rights that are to be given to us by the kindness of men or vice versa. Male or female, we all have our rights individually and collectively" well put!

  11. @Maryiam

    Your points are ridiculous, though you display an admirable lucidity and coherence in your writing that surpasses the typical abilities of your gender. I gather that you are a married woman then.

    (Is your husband a 'feminist' of some sort? If so, this disease must be seen to immediately).

    Anyway, I only beat my wife when she is being disobedient. This makes me no worse a husband for it; no more than disciplining a horse would make one a bad equestrian - as long as the owner feeds, grooms and protects the creature.


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